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Plaid Cymru acts to grant votes at 16

As the Wales Bill is debates in the Lords, Plaid Cymru's Lord Dafydd Wigley and Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas have tabled an amendment that, if passed, would empower the Assembly to determine whether 16 and 17 year olds could participate in Assembly elections.

It would also allow the Assembly to decide whether young people of this age could also vote in Welsh local authority elections and any Welsh referendum that is held.

Speaking during the debate, Lord Wigley said:

"Plaid Cymru has long campaigned for the lowering of the voting age in Wales to 16 years old.

"As might be expected, this amendment was drawn up partly in response to the decision of the Scottish government to empower 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the September referendum, as well as the outstanding take up of that right.

"109,533 16 and 17 year olds had registered to vote in the Scottish referendum by polling day.

"Whatever people's politics, I hope that I would be correct in asserting that the decision to allow those aged 16 and over to vote in that plebiscite was commendable, and opened up democracy for a new generation.

"The sheer levels of engagement in that referendum were staggering, and if we in Wales, and indeed, across the UK, can try to emulate that engagement in politics and public life, it will be a tremendous success."